A woman has sparked a fierce online debate by asking if people rinse their ‘pre-washed’ salad packets from supermarkets – with some shoppers claiming they’ve found snails and even frogs in their produce.
Posting to Reddit, the British shopper kicked off a discussion which saw more than 150 commenters admitting to never washing their vegetables.
‘No, I can’t see the point in washing a pre-washed salad if I’m honest but if you want to then go for it,’ one remarked.
Another agreed, adding: ‘I don’t wash it, a little bit of roughage is fine.’
‘I don’t wash any veg, pre-washed or not,’ a third revealed.
Elsewhere, a poster claimed they’re ‘training their immune system’ by not washing anything.
However on the other side of the divide, people shared horror stories of the various creepy crawlies they’ve found in their salad.
One disgusted poster revealed that they ‘found snails in washed salad’ before.
Another added that they’d found ‘a bloody great big maggot, so yes I rewash a prewashed salad.’
A fellow commenter said that they’d once discovered a ‘small dead frog’ in their salad.
‘I was told that the mechanics of what actually constitutes “washed” is a bit of a fib, so you’re best to either avoid ‘pre-washed’ or wash it yourself,’ another chimed in.
Other posts were more informative.
‘Wash them then place in some ice water,’ one advised. ‘And you’ll get a better experience, obviously it’s a bit of a hassle but for the sake of a bowl with some water and ice.
‘These and lettuces are always good after an ice bath.’
A second user added: ‘I’ve heard you have to be careful with lettuce, especially in the summer. Nasty bacteria can get stuck there.’
It comes as, last year, more than 250 people had been struck down by a virulent form of food poisoning that may have been linked to lettuce grown in the UK.
The cases occurred across the country through August to October, with the full details made public by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in December.
An investigation was started by the FSA, its counterpart in Scotland and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
FSA chief executive Emily Miles told board members that the outbreak of food poisoning linked to E.coli STEC (Shiga toxin-producing E.coli) is the largest since whole genome sequencing of such bugs began in 2014.
She said: ‘To date, there have been a total of 259 confirmed cases identified in the UK with sample dates ranging between August 23 — October 29, 2022.
‘Investigations suggest UK-produced lettuce and salad leaves could have been implicated but it is too early to be certain that they were the source of illness.
‘The ongoing supply chain investigation is extensive and complex, and we continue to look for the root cause and where in the supply chain the food safety risk occurred.’
The problem with bugs on foods such as lettuce is that there is no cooking process to kill them.
Dr Lesley Larkin, UKHSA head of surveillance, gastrointestinal infections and food safety, said: ‘Making sure you wash your hands with soap and water is the best way to stop this bug from spreading.
‘When preparing food make sure you thoroughly wash salad, fruit, and vegetables and follow all the safe cooking instructions for meat.’
The symptoms of E. coli infections often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhoea.